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Final 4 Odds and Ends

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Sixty four games are already complete and we’ve officially closed the book on March college hoops. Only 3 games remain before we can go back to preoccupying ourselves exclusively with football chatter and trying to figure out how many sanctions the NCAA throws Auburn’s way if this week’s allegations are substantiated. In the meantime, kick back, relax, and watch a few good college basketball games and try to make yourself a few bucks in the process.

Wichita State

Current futures price: 12-1, pre tournament price: 300-1

Wichita State isn’t nearly as sexy as a campus located in Fort Meyers, Florida and they lack a cool nickname like Dunk City.  Apparently, very few casual fans seemed to care that the Shockers play pretty good basketball and punched their ticket to Atlanta with 4 dominating efforts. I’ll also contend that Shockers might be the most underrated nickname in all of college sports but I digress.  Led by Greg Marshall, WSU was 20-13-2 against the spread this year making a $100 bettor who bet them every game a cool $570…don’t go spending all that in one place.  Now if we’re talking moneyline, well the Shockers lined wallets all March long winning outright as underdogs against Pittsburgh (+4.5), Gonzaga (+7), and Ohio St (+4.5).  Not bad for a school in Kansas that’s home to roughly 15,000 undergrads boasting a 93% acceptance rate. I’ll admit, not quite sure who the 7% were that didn’t make the cut but for one weekend a basketball crazy state will be focused on Wichita rather than Lawrence or Manhattan.

Players to watch

Cleanthony Early, Malcolm Armstead, & Ron Baker

Drinking game

Take a sip when…Baker makes a free throw: 20-23 in the tournament

Take a shot when…Malcolm Armstead drains a three: 6-21 in the tournament

Take a kegstand if…Carl Hall launches from deep: the big fella has attempted 2 treys all season long

Louisville 

Current futures price: 2-3, pre tournament price: 9-2

Louisville’s the lone remaining college basketball blue blood with a chance to win a national championship this year. No disrespect to Syracuse and their 1 national championship and 4 Final Fours or Michigan and their 1 national championship with 6 Final Fours but they don’t have the same history of excellence as the Cardinals.  The Ville’s run to Atlanta is littered with college basketball carcasses; only the Ducks were able to stay within 22 of Coach Pitino’s juggernaut. Unfortunately the ghastly injury to Kevin Ware put a temporary damper on the Cardinals’ dominant run but expect this group to be fully focused as 10.5 pt favorites against Wichita St this weekend.  Louisville is 23-15 against the number so far this year but the most impressive trend for them over the last 3 seasons is a blistering 18-5 ATS record when playing games on a neutral court. Atlanta will in theory be neutral but expect the town to be painted red as Louisville chases their 3rd national title.

Players to watch

Russ Smith, Peyton Siva, Georgui Deng

Drinking game

Take a sip when…Russ Smith gets to the foul line. The Louisville star has been to the charity stripe a russdiculous 36 times the last 3 games.

Take a shot when…Peyton Siva turns it over, the mercurial point guard has 9 through 4 tournament games and can struggle against physical guards.

Take a kegstand if…Wayne Blackshear has an assist. Despite averaging more than 20 minutes per game for the Cardinals, he’s only handed out 24 dimes in 38 games.

Syracuse

Current futures price: 9-2, pre tournament price: 30-1

It’s amazing that a team who couldn’t break 60 in 3 of their last 5 regular season games is only 80 minutes away from a national championship. The Orange deserve credit for using their stingy 2-3 zone to hold all of their tournament opponents below 40% from the floor. Through their first 4 tournament games, Syracuse has given up a grand total of 183 points or for those math wizards out there under 46 PPG.  Let’s not kid ourselves, the Orange haven’t exactly solved their offensive problems entirely only eclipsing 66 points vs lowly Montana but it hasn’t hurt them yet.  Amid speculation of impropriety on campus and allegations of sexual misconduct earlier in the year, this team has bonded together to play their best ball at exactly the right time. A trend worth noting is that Syracuse definitely benefits from playing against teams unfamiliar with their zone substantiated by a 9-2 ATS record against their last 11 non-conference foes.

Players to watch

Michael Carter Williams, James Southerland, CJ Fair

Drinking game

Take a sip when…Syrcause makes a field goal. 19, 21, 18: no, those aren’t the average ACT scores for the most recent freshman classes but rather the made field goals by the Orange during their last 3 games.  Every time you see a jumper go through the hoop, celebrate it with an adult beverage…Cuse fans will.

Take a shot when…Michael Carter Williams forces a steal (save your shoplifting jokes). The talented sophomore has forced 13 already this tournament including 9 in the last 2 games.

Take a kegstand when…They show coach Boeheim’s wife. She’s no Amanda Enfield but give the coach credit because he definitely outkicked his coverage.

Michigan

Current futures price: 7-2 , pre tournament price: 18-1

Many had this team written off for dead, myself included, when they trailed KU by double digits late in the round of 16.  It was at that point Trey Burke decided to carry all of Wolverine nation on his back and do exactly what Denard Robinson couldn’t at Jerry’s World back in September; lead the Maize and Blue to a triumphant win over a traditional power.  Burke clearly deserves the headlines for Michigan’s run to Atlanta but Mitch McGary may be most deserving of the credit. The 6’10 freshman only averages 7.4 PPG this season yet you wouldn’t know it given his last 4 games which included back to back 20 pt outbursts when the team needed him most.  Along with those 2, sons of former NBA talents have helped add scoring punch to a Michigan team that ranks #1 nationally in offensive efficiency at 121.9 points per 100 possessions.  Their ability to score consistently will be tested against the Syracuse defense and for Coach Beilein whose 0-9 in his career against Jimmy B, this  1 win would go a long long way.  For those looking at trends, UM walks into dangerous territory (along with WSU) as teams entering off back to back wins as underdogs: those sides are 2-8 ATS the last 10 times it’s happened.

Players to watch

Trey Burke, Nick Stauskas, Mitch McGary

Drinking game

Take a sip when…Trey Burke misses a jumper. For as talented a player as he is, jump shooting is clearly not his forte. Through 4 games this tournament Burke is 22 for 63 from the floor…only Jrue Holliday is jealous of a FG% like that these days.

Take a shot when…Nick Stauskas makes a three ball. Coming into the Florida game the Canadian assassin was 2 of 12 before breaking out in a big way going 6-6 against the Gators. If Michigan has any chance, he needs to rain from deep.

Take a kegstand when…They mention Coach Beilein has never beaten Boeheim. Most of those losses came while he was at Le Moyne, Canisius, and West Virginia. Last I checked, those rosters weren’t chock full of star studded talent like he has at his disposal for this game.

Props

However you choose to watch the games, enjoy them. This is the last basketball that means anything until November…as far as I’m concerned the NBA is useless. In case these drinking options won’t keep you satiated, feel free to pan through the laundry list of props from the LVH Superbook for this Saturday’s games.

 

MICHIGAN VS SYRACUSE


TOTAL 3 POINT FIELD GOALS MADE BY: BOTH TEAMS
OVER           12.0  -110
UNDER          12.0  -110
 
LARGEST LEAD OF THE GAME BY: EITHER TEAM
OVER           12.5  -110
UNDER          12.5  -110

TEAM TO SCORE 10+ POINTS FIRST
MICHIGAN             -115
SYRACUSE             -105

TEAM TO SCORE 20+ POINTS FIRST
MICHIGAN             -120
SYRACUSE             EVEN

TOTAL POINTS BY: TREY BURKE (MICH)
OVER           18.0  -110
UNDER          18.0  -110

TOTAL POINTS BY: GLENN ROBINSON III (MICH)
OVER           11.0  -110
UNDER          11.0  -110
 
TOTAL POINTS BY: TIM HARDAWAY JR (MICH)
OVER           13.5  -110
UNDER          13.5  -110

TOTAL POINTS BY: MITCH McGARY (MICH)
OVER           10.0  -110
UNDER          10.0  -110

TOTAL POINTS BY: MICHIGAN
OVER           66.5  -110
UNDER          66.5  -110

TOTAL POINTS BY: C.J. FAIR (SYR)
OVER           13.5  -110
UNDER          13.5  -110

TOTAL POINTS BY: JAMES SOUTHERLAND (SYR)
OVER           13.5  -110
UNDER          13.5  -110

TOTAL POINTS BY: MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS (SYR)
OVER           12.0  -110
UNDER          12.0  -110

TOTAL POINTS BY: BRANDON TRICHE (SYR)
OVER           12.5  -110
UNDER          12.5  -110

TOTAL POINTS BY: SYRACUSE
OVER           64.5  -110
UNDER          64.5  -110

WICHITA ST VS LOUISVILLE

TOTAL 3 POINT FIELD GOALS MADE BY: BOTH TEAMS
OVER           11.5  -110
UNDER          11.5  -110
 
LARGEST LEAD OF THE GAME BY: EITHER TEAM
OVER           17.0  -110
UNDER          17.0  -110

TEAM TO SCORE 10+ POINTS FIRST
WICHITA ST           +130
LOUISVILLE           -150

TEAM TO SCORE 20+ POINTS FIRST
WICHITA ST           +185
LOUISVILLE           -215

TOTAL POINTS BY: MALCOLM ARMSTEAD (WSU)
OVER           11.5  -110
UNDER          11.5  -110

TOTAL POINTS BY: CARL HALL (WSU)
OVER           11.0  -110
UNDER          11.0  -110
 
TOTAL POINTS BY: RON BAKER (WSU)
OVER            8.5  -110
UNDER           8.5  -110
 
TOTAL POINTS BY: CLEANTHONY EARLY (WSU)
OVER           12.5  -110
UNDER          12.5  -110
 
TOTAL POINTS BY: WICHITA ST
OVER           60.5  -110
UNDER          60.5  -110
 
TOTAL POINTS BY: RUSS SMITH (LOU)
OVER           20.5  -110
UNDER          20.5  -110

TOTAL POINTS BY: PEYTON SIVA (LOU)
OVER           10.0  -110
UNDER          10.0  -110
 
TOTAL POINTS BY: GORGUI DIENG (LOU)
OVER           10.0  -110
UNDER          10.0  -110
 
TOTAL POINTS BY: CHANE BEHANAN (LOU)
OVER            8.0  -110
UNDER           8.0  -110
 
TOTAL POINTS BY: LOUISVILLE
OVER           70.5  -110
UNDER          70.5  -110
 

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.